We get some wellie boots and hill boots returned to us with customers saying they are faulty as either rubber has perished or stitching or leather has cracked or failed. In the vast majority of cases the failure isn’t down to the product or it’s manufacture, it is down to lack of cleaning and care. You wouldn’t expect your car to continue running well without servicing it and the same can be said of your footwear which also needs to be “serviced” and looked after if you want your boots to last.
In terms of maintaining your wellington boots there is not much that you will need to do in order to keep the rubber in good condition and it doesn’t take long to do.
Dirt and organic matter will rot any material over time and, this is particularly the case with rubber. An added problem for wellingtons is that manure of any sort contains acids that literally eat away at the rubber. Here’s some tips and tricks to cleaning your boots in a matter of minutes;
1. Rinse your wellies with clean water from an outside tap for example.
2. If there is any persistent dirt then use a wet cloth and apply some soap to it to brush off any excess dirt and perhaps a firm brush to clean the bottom of your wellies.
3. Once dirt is removed, dry boots with a towel or let them drip dry in a cool, airy place.
4. When boots are fully dry, any remaining dirt can be removed with a dusting cloth.
5. In the unlikely event that you are putting your wellies away for a prolonged period of time (certainly the case in the UK!) then make sure you put them somewhere cool and away from direct sunlight which will otherwise perish the rubber of your wellies.
6. The outside of your wellies should now be dry and clean but the insides could easily remain damp as your feet will have been sweating inside them. To help prevent odours building up, it is worth making sure that the insides are nice and dry too by using something like the Harkila Boot Dryer.
7. It is always worth treating the rubber with some rubbercare products such as:-
A lot of boots used particularly for shooting are made of leather. The same issues apply to them in terms of dirt, organic matter and rot so the same rules apply as above in terms of cleaning although a damp sponge/cloth is far better than the tap as you don’t want to soak the leather whilst getting the mud off. Never leave your leather boots to dry off next to a direct source of heat as the leather can shrink and crack….let them dry naturally.
The main difference is that leather needs feeding to keep it supple and flexible. Thus, in order to keep the leather in good condition and prevent in from cracking, there are various products that you can use such as;
- Harkila Mink Oil Leather Care – waterproofs and protects all types of smooth leather.
- Harkila Nubuck/Suede care and Waterproofer – spray on protective layer to use once your boots are clean.
- Laksen All Natural Leather Care - easy to apply with the sponge supplied
If you would like to seek more advice on shooting, head to our experts page for more information.